Ben Jennings Assimilation Pastor Canton Baptist Temple
We had just started our first job in ministry, moved into our first house as a married couple and it was the first time having friends over for dinner. I was excited to grill out for everyone, so I went out and purchased a charcoal grill.
I had never actually grilled up to this point, so I thought it would be easy to light the fire. I thought I would throw a match on the charcoal and it would just go.
I remember having the hardest time getting it to ignite. I ended up using lighter fluid and a hair dryer to get the flame going and consequently we had dinner later than I wanted. Also, I ruined my wife’s hair dryer. (Sorry again, Megan.).
Starting a fire was more difficult than I thought it was going to be.
I’ve felt the same thing trying to lead people. Fire is such a great metaphor for passion, energy, and momentum. We try and try to stoke the fires of passion around evangelism and ministry. Often it seems like there is so much keeping the flame from igniting in the hearts of our people.
But there are times in ministry where I see God light a fire in someone's heart. When He does the results are amazing.
Passion is crucial because apathy is typical. For our churches to be effective, we need passion for the lost that is a burning flame.
But how can we influence people to be passionate about evangelism and ministry?
I suggest three elements that are crucial to igniting a passion in your ministry.
Passion is ignited by personal conviction.
Do you have a conviction about your own personal evangelistic ministry? Do you understand the example you set for good or bad in terms of personal evangelism? Do you own the stewardship God has given to you of leading your people to reach others? To be effective in evangelism you must have a conviction that the lost must be reached and that you must be personally involved in reaching them.
Passion is ignited by personal prayer.
Nothing of any eternal consequence has ever been done without prayer. If we as leaders are not on our knees pleading to God that our class catch a vision for evangelism, then it is unlikely to happen.
Passion is ignited by personal example.
Do you understand the example you set for good or bad in terms of personal evangelism? Example is most effective when seen. We must do good. We must be seen doing good.
We must manage the tension between a desire to influence others with a right example and the desire to be seen of men to be admired. Providing an example is critical. Being prideful can destroy the spiritual work God wants to do. We need the Holy Spirit to guide us through this effectively.
Here is the bottom line: We can not expect people to be more passionate and involved than we are. Passionless leaders who go through the motions don’t inspire passion in their followers.
Participate. Get a story. Use the story to inspire others. Exemplify great commission
ministry to those who follow you.